Top ten holiday tips to avoid April Fools’ trickery | Moorepay
February 28, 2024

Top ten holiday tips to avoid April Fools’ trickery

woman stretching sat at laptop

April 1st has been a day of practical jokes and trickery for centuries. I’m sure most of us have been sent for a long stand in our time. Or given a phone number to speak to Mr Lyon which turned out to be the number for the local zoo or wildlife park.

This year, April Fools’ Day is also the day some new holiday legislation takes effect. And it’s Easter Monday. So what is it that makes April 1st tricky for holidays this year?

Here are ten tips to get you through the holiday trickery.

  1. Firstly, if you follow an April – March holiday year, this year is a ‘Double Easter’. If you recognise bank holidays as fixed holidays for staff, that means you will potentially give extra leave in 23/24 but not enough in 24/25. You must provide 5.6 working weeks’ leave each year. As Good Friday 24 falls on 29th March it counts in 23/24 bank holidays. But so do 7th and 10th April 2023. And that means in the 24/25 leave year, only 7 bank holidays remain. You potentially need an extra day to make up the shortfall. Remember, this only applies to April – March leave years.
  2. The Government recently made significant changes to the Working Time Regulations affecting holidays. Some took effect on 1st January. Others take effect on or after 1st April. One important aspect is confirmation that the practice of ‘use it or lose it’ remains valid. But there are exceptions. Key among these is that you must remind staff to take their remaining leave in the current holiday year. If you fail to remind them, or prevent them from taking it, they potentially carry it forward.
  3. European judgements allowing staff who are long-term sick to carry forward holidays have now been enshrined in UK law. If they return to work in time to use it in the current leave year, they should of course do so. If they can’t, they can potentially carry forward up to four weeks (providing this is reflected in their terms and conditions of employment). 
  4. Likewise, overtime may count towards holiday pay. Where the individual must work additional hours, or it’s not a contractual obligation but performed regularly over the previous 52 weeks(unfortunately ‘regularly’ is not further defined) then it counts for holiday pay purposes. This applies to four weeks of holiday pay reflecting its European origins (and again providing it’s reflected in terms and conditions of employment). 
  5. Holiday pay must reflect normal pay. And that can mean bonus and commission payments intrinsically linked to the individual’s work. For instance, there would be an intrinsic link if a hairdresser receives 20% commission based on their customers’ bills. However, if in a particular year a company does very well and gives all staff a year-end celebratory bonus, that’s not intrinsically linked to the individual’s normal work.
  6. One aspect making a welcome return is the opportunity to utilise an accrual system based on 12.07% of pay for part-year (term time) workers. This is a welcome response to the bizarre Supreme Court judgement in Brazel v Harpur Trust which ruled  you could not pro rate a part-year worker’s holiday entitlement, although you could still pro rate a part-time worker! This will only apply to holiday years on or after 1st April. And if you changed contractual provisions for your term-time workers to reflect the Brazel judgement, you’ll need to consult to restore your previous provision.
  7. There’s a further complication for those who employ term-time staff. Although the new legislation is clear, Government guidance about who counts as a part year worker isn’t. In Moorepay’s opinion, it’s simply wrong. We can provide fresh principal statement templates to help demonstrate, belt and braces, that staff are hourly paid, time-based, workers. They’re not ‘salaried hours’ even if paid monthly for mutual convenience. The government guidance loses sight that such staff are contracted for 39 weeks + statutory holiday entitlement + unpaid leave – not salaried for all 52 weeks per year.
  8. From 1st April onwards, it may also be possible to ‘roll up’ holiday pay for staff defined as ‘irregular hours’ workers. Where you utilise casual, bank or ‘zero hours’ staff for short, ad hoc assignments ‘rolled up holiday pay’ is not only sensible, it’s the only fair way of operating. You may never offer another assignment. And they may refuse any further assignments you do offer. The only fair thing to do is to pay their holiday pay separately, alongside normal pay, for the assignment you have both agreed.
  9. As with part year workers, we must express a note of caution about who counts as ‘irregular hours’ workers. The legislation sets out they are those where the number of paid hours ‘that they will work in each pay period during the term of their contract in that year is, under the terms of their contract, wholly or mostly variable’. It is extremely difficult to demonstrate that staff who, for instance, have guaranteed minimum hours every week or work an annualised hours pattern would meet this definition. We advise you to continue to treat them the same as other staff.

And finally, the easy ones. If staff are on fixed hours year-round, and get a basic wage or salary, none of this need worry you. Their annual statutory holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks (28 days) at normal (and that may well mean basic) pay. If they’re part-time, multiply the number of days they work by 5.6. For instance, two days per week = 5.6 x 2 = 11.2 days holiday per year. 20 hours per week = 20 x 5.6 = 112 hours holiday per year.  There’s even a calculator to calculate statutory holidays for you. Just in case your arithmetic’s a bit shaky like mine.

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mike fitz
About the author

Mike Fitzsimmons

Mike is a Senior HR Consultant within the Moorepay Policy Team. He is responsible for the developing of employment documentation and is an Employment law advisor. With over 30 years of senior management and HR experience, Mike has managed teams of between 30 and 100 employees and is familiar with all the issues that employing people brings. He has also served as a non-executive director on the Boards of several social enterprises and undertook a five year tour of duty as Executive Chair of a £30+ million annual turnover Government agency.